Inca Rituals and Sacred Mountains: A Study of the World's Highest Archaeological Sites by Johan Reinhard and Maria Constanza Ceruti

The Incas carried out some of the most dramatic ceremonies known to us from ancient times. Groups of people walked hundreds of miles across arid and mountainous terrain to perform them on mountains over 6,096 m (20,000 feet) high. The most important offerings made during these pilgrimages involved human sacrifices (capacochas). Although Spanish chroniclers wrote about these offerings and the state sponsored processions of which they were a part, their accounts were based on second-hand sources, and the only direct evidence we have of the capacocha sacrifices comes to us from archaeological excavations. Some of the most thoroughly documented of these were undertaken on high mountain summits, where the material evidence has been exceptionally well preserved. In this study we describe the results of research undertaken on Mount Llullaillaco (6,739 m/22,109 feet), which has the world's highest archaeological site. The types of ruins and artifact assemblages recovered are described and analyzed. By comparing the archaeological evidence with the chroniclers' accounts and with findings from other mountaintop sites, common patterns are demonstrated; while at the same time previously little known elements contribute to our understanding of key aspects of Inca religion. This study illustrates the importance of archaeological sites being placed within the broader context of physical and sacred features of the natural landscape. 264p, full col illus. (Cotsen Institute of Archaeology Press 2010)

The Ice Maiden: Inca Mummies, Mountain Gods, and Sacred Sites in the Andes by Johan Reinhard

Johan Reinhard's discovery of the 500-year-old frozen body of an Inca girl made international headlines in 1995, reaching more than a billion people worldwide. One of the best-preserved mummies ever found, it was a stunning and significant time capsule, the spectacular climax to an Andean quest that yielded no fewer than ten ancient human sacrifices as well as the richest collection of Inca artifacts in archaeological history. Here is the paperback edition of his first-person account, which The Washington Post called "incredible…compelling and often astonishing" and The Wall Street Journal described as "… part adventure story, part detective story, and part memoir—an engaging look at a rarefied world." It's a riveting combination of mountaineering adventure, archaeological triumph, academic intrigue, and scientific breakthrough which has produced important results ranging from the best-preserved DNA of its age to the first complete set of an Inca noblewoman's clothing. At once a vivid personal story, a treasure trove of new insights on the lives and culture of the Inca, and a fascinating glimpse of cutting-edge research in fields as varied as biology, botany, pathology, ornithology and history, The Ice Maiden is as spellbinding and unforgettable as the long-dead but still vital young woman at its heart.

Machu Picchu: Exploring an Ancient Sacred Center by Johan Reinhard

Machu Picchu is one of the world's most famous archaeological sites, yet it remains a mystery. Even the most basic questions have long remained unanswered: What was its meaning and why was it built in such a difficult location? This full-color book examines Machu Picchu from the perspectives of sacred landscape and archaeoastronomy. Using information gathered from historical, archaeological, and ethnographical sources, the author demonstrates that the site is situated in the center of sacred mountains and is also associated with a sacred river, which is in turn symbolically linked with the sun's passage. Taken together, these features have meant that Machu Picchu formed a cosmological, hydrological and sacred geographical center for a vast region. Key architectural features at Machu Picchu and nearby sites formed parts of this ceremonial center, where economic, political and religious factors combined to lead to their construction in one of the most rugged areas of Peru.

Discovering the Inca Ice Maiden by Johan Reinhard

This is a book for students (through K-12) summarizing the discovery of the Ice Maiden and two other Inca human sacrifices on Mt. Ampato in Peru in 1995. From the Introduction: The erupting volcano of Sabancaya spewed out clouds of ash over a mile into the sky. Wind carried the ash over Sabancaya’s higher neighbor, the snow-capped volcano Ampato. Eventually Ampato’s summit was covered with the dark ash, which slowly began absorbing the sun’s rays. After four years the weight of melting snow caused a section of Ampato’s summit ridge to collapse. It crashed down the slope into the crater. Within this mix of falling ice and rock was a cloth-wrapped bundle. Suddenly, the bundle smashed against an icy outcrop about 200 feet below. An outer cloth was torn open—and five hundred year-old Inca artifacts were strewn over the rugged landscape. But the most important part of the bundle remained intact as it came to rest on top of the ice: It was the frozen body of an Inca child. Now a race against time began. Before long the body could be destroyed by the sun and volcanic ash—or stolen by treasure hunters.

Publications for Children

The National Geographic Society published (1999) a Read & Explore Kit, including a teacher's guide, to be used in conjunction with Johan Reinhard's book Discovering the Inca Ice Maiden (for ages 10 and up). Other books for children referring to Inca frozen mummies and Dr. Reinhard's research include the following:

Buell, Janet Ice Maiden of the Andes. New York: Twenty-First Century Books, 1997

Chávez, José Antonio Juanita. La niña que bajó de los Cielos. Arequipa, 2002

Cummings, Pat & Linda Cummings Talking with Adventurers. National Geographic, Washington, D.C., 1998

Deem, James Bodies from the Ice: Melting Glaciers and the Recovery of the Past. HoughtonMifflin, Boston, 2008 Funston, Sylvia 2000 Mummies. Toronto: Owl Books. This includes a board game “Mummy Trekking,” which is based on true events that occurred during the 1996 expedition led by Johan Reinhard to Sara Sara (see attachment below).

Getz, David Frozen Girl. Henry Holt and Company, New York, 1998

Griek, Susan Vande A Gift for Ampato. Groundwood Books, Toronto, 1999

Gruber, Beth Ancient Inca: Archaeology Unlocks the Secrets of the Ancient Past. National Geographic Society, Washington, D.C., 2007

Halls, Kelly Mysteries of the Mummy Kids. Darby Creek Publishing, Plain City, 2007

Johnson, Rebecca Johan Reinhard: Discovering Ancient Civilizations. National Geographic Society, Washington, D.C., 2002 Kudalis, Eric Ice Mummies: Frozen in Time. Capstone Press, Mankato (MN), 2003

Markle, Sandra Outside and Inside Mummies. Walker & Company, New York, 2005

Martin, Michael Inca Mummies: Sacrifices and Rituals. Capstone Press, Mankato (MN), 2005 .

Prior, Natalie The Encyclopedia of Preserved People. Crown Publishers, New York, 2002 .

Tanaka, Shelley Mummies: The Newest, Coolest & Creepiest From Around the World. Madison Press, Toronto, 2005

Wilcox, Charlotte Mummies, Bones, and Body Parts. Scholastic, New York, 2000